Every pregnancy is life changing. It is a challenge for many expectant parents, whether the pregnancy was been planned for a long time or is a surprise. This long period of waiting is associated with strong feelings that can sometimes change quickly. If stress is added to this, it can lead to a crisis in your partnership. You may even find that conflicts you thought you had overcome start to resurface. If anxiety, grief, stress or arguments are constantly and repeatedly putting a lot of strain on your marriage or relationship, it's good to get help. This also applies to the time after your child is born, which also brings its own challenges. You can find support from independent therapists or at counselling centres.
Counselling usually consists of several conversations that you have together with your partner and the counsellor. The sessions are about first finding out, with guidance, why your relationship is off-balance. Then you can develop and try out suitable steps towards solutions together. To do this, the counsellor first examines the current situation. How do you talk to each other? How do you organise your life together? How do you handle arguments? In counseling, you will look together for ways to behave differently. Then you try out the new behaviours in everyday life. Another important point is to speak openly about it if one has deeply hurt the other emotionally. Then it's a matter of acknowledging that violation and, if possible, apologising for it. How couples shape their lives together also has a lot to do with each partner’s childhood experiences in their own family. That's why couples counseling often looks to the past. For example, how did I experience my family dealing with conflict as a child? How does that affect my behaviour today, even if I may not want it to?
The total duration of a couple's counseling session will vary greatly. Sometimes all it takes is a clarifying conversation. In most cases, however, couples need several sessions before the desired outcome is achieved. This is because counselling initiates processes to change entrenched behaviour patterns. This takes time and is not always easy. Therefore, counselling may take longer in some cases. This cannot be precisely determined in advance.
When a relationship still has a chance is an incredibly complicated question that everyone must answer for themselves. But if you're giving thought to saving your marriage or relationship, that's already a good sign that there's still something there to save. However, because a partnership always consists of two people, the problem clearly cannot be solved alone. When things aren't going well in a relationship, it's rarely enough for just one person to dig in and try to revive the relationship on their own. To save things, both sides have to pull together and talk to each other. This does not necessarily have to be under the supervision of a couples’ therapist. However, it is often easier to let each other finish speaking and to listen to each other if someone is there to guide the conversation.
Fortunately, there are many places for marriage and couples’ counseling that you can turn to with different problems. There are experienced counsellors there. They can help with questions about marriage, partnership and family, about education or about separation and divorce. If your partner does not want to attend counselling, you can of course go to a counselling centre on your own. The counselling is free of charge and confidential. That means no one will know about the conversations you have there if you don't want them to. A good first point of contact is the Early Help Network (Netzwerk Frühe Hilfen). There you can find out which counselling centres to contact.